October 29, 2013
Guest: Bill Pascrell, Peter King
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Is Ted Cruz the Republican Freddy Krueger?
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews back in Washington.
"Let Me Start" tonight with this grotesquerie that now presents itself
as the righteous right arm of the Republican Party, this frightening
Freddie Krueger that threatens this country with relentless shutdowns and
We now have the ungodly news this week on Halloween on what the
voters` reaction is to this specter. Two thirds of the voters of Virginia,
which is voting next week, say they hold a stark, negative view of the
Republican Party nationally.
Worse yet, the same two thirds say they are voting for the Democratic
candidate for governor of Virginia next week because they can`t stand the
Republican brand of the guy running against him. His brand, his name is
Republican. All these weeks of chain-rattling have bequeathed a voter such
a dread of the Grand Old Party that they now know it as a villain to be
Eugene Robinson`s a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist with "The
Washington Post," and Joan Walsh is editor of Salon. Both are MSNBC
Well, the upending of a political streak is brewing in Virginia, as I
said, and that could tell us a lot about which way the country is headed
right now. For nearly 40 years, covering the last nine elections, the
party that occupies the White House has lost the Virginia governor`s race
the following year.
Well, today`s "Washington Post" poll shows that streak may be about to
end. And it certainly will. Democrat Terry McAuliffe leads right-wing
Republican Ken Cuccinelli by 12 points, his largest margin in the poll yet.
And when McAuliffe supporters asked what motivates their vote, as I said,
nearly two thirds, 64 percent, say it`s the chance to vote against the
So just by not being the extreme right-winger, the Democrat gets the
bulk of the votes. This matches, by the way, almost exactly the 65 percent
of Virginia voters who have now said they have an unfavorable opinion of
the Republican Party nationally, suggesting that the force driving this
election in Virginia next Tuesday is the negative voter feeling about the
Republican Party nationally.
Gene, this is stark stuff. I know we live in Washington. I know
Virginia`s to our south, across the Potomac. But this is the canary in the
mine that just died for the Republican Party.
EUGENE ROBINSON, "WASHINGTON POST," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I
think it did. I mean, if you look at Virginia, it`s a purple state. It
was red. It`s become more blue. It`s gone for Obama a couple of times,
but it`s very close. It`s a changing state, a growing Hispanic population.
It`s a lot like the country, in some senses, not all...
MATTHEWS: Yes, the numbers are almost exactly the same as the number
ROBINSON: Exactly. And you just see that Ken Cuccinelli is just
getting killed in the polls. And in large part, it`s because he`s very,
very far to the right. He`s also tied to Governor Bob McDonnell, who has
had ethics problems. That`s not helping him.
And the government shutdown -- the Republican identification with the
government shutdown, I think, was a huge factor in this race and will be a
huge factor on election day.
MATTHEWS: Joan, I`m just struck by the -- every once in a while in
polling, you see some interesting little coincidence...
JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.
MATTHEWS: ... a coincidental fact, I should say, where the same two
thirds, roughly, who that say they don`t like the Republican Party
nationally are saying they`re voting against Cuccinelli in the governor`s
race, not for the other guy, necessarily, but definitely two thirds saying,
Hey, look, I don`t like Republicans, I`m not voting for a Republican.
That`s pretty stark evidence of what`s to come. This may be the first
primary for 2014, if you look at it that way.
WALSH: It really -- I think it really is. There`s another -- since
you guys I know love numbers, Chris, there`s another number that jumped out
at me, though. Three times as many people in Virginia are strong opponents
of the Tea Party as are strong supporters of the Tea Party. And both
groups are equally likely to vote.
That never happens. We think of the Tea Party people as being the
people who are motivated. They`re the ones who always turn out. And
Cuccinelli has basically banked his campaign on saying, Hey, this a weird
off-year election. If I can get my base out, I`m going to be fine.
But it turns out that this same process...
WALSH: ... of turning against Republicans is turning people against
the Tea Party and motivating the McAuliffe...
MATTHEWS: Yes. You`re so smart.
WALSH: ... Democratic Obama coalition voters.
MATTHEWS: This is the old -- this is the old Karl Rove theory that no
matter how much the middle worried about you, you can get the hard right
MATTHEWS: ... the nasties out -- here, by the way, right on that
point. Virginia matters because its election results are, as you`ve been
saying, both of you -- is nearly an identical matchup...
MATTHEWS: ... to the national numbers, as we were just mentioning.
Catch this number. I don`t know if you like numbers or not. You`ll like
this one. In the 2012 presidential election, President Obama got 51.1
percent of the vote. Mitt Romney got 47.2, just about 2 or 3 points.
In Virginia, the president got 51.2, Romney got 47.3. I mean, do the
arithmetic. They`re almost exactly alike. And with that in mind, let`s
look at the Tea Party`s declining popularity in Virginia.
Opposition to the Tea Party reached a new high in Tuesday`s -- or
today`s, actually, "Washington Post" poll, which is Tuesday, with 53
percent of Virginians openly opposing the Tea Party, just 36 percent in
Well, a year ago, 41 percent supported the Tea Party, 51 were opposed
to it, a narrower spread to today. And only two years ago, more Virginians
actually supported the Tea Party, 45-43. So while the Republican brand has
taken a beating nationally, the tea leaves of Virginia show (ph), if you
will -- I know that was funny. It was mine. The sub-brand, the Tea Party,
is taking a beating as well.
Gene, it seems to me that you can`t generalize too much. Obviously,
there are a lot of federal employees.
MATTHEWS: But there`s also -- those of us who think of Virginia as
the "Old Virginny," the old state of -- of -- you know, it`s the Byrd
family and all that stuff and the massive resistance. It`s not that party
anymore, not that state anymore.
ROBINSON: It`s not that -- that doesn`t sum up the state anymore, no.
I mean, there`s still some very, very conservative old-line people in
Virginia, but there`s lots of newcomers and lots of immigrants and...
MATTHEWS: Like the next governor.
ROBINSON: ... huge, fast-growing Asian-American...
MATTHEWS: Just like the next governor!
ROBINSON: ... population -- exactly, like the -- well, you know,
immigrant carpetbagger, whatever you want to call him.
MATTHEWS: But all those guys -- George Allen wasn`t from Virginia!
MATTHEWS: ... George Allen wasn`t from Virginia. Chuck Robb wasn`t
ROBINSON: No, it`s...
MATTHEWS: A lot of those guys came...
ROBINSON: ... one factor in this race, though, and certainly in those
Tea Party numbers, was the shutdown because of the heavy federal government
ROBINSON: ... here in northern Virginia, the Tea Party`s hostility
toward government employees and government spending in general, including
defense spending, which partly explains, I think, why Cuccinelli is
ROBINSON: ... beat down in Newport News and (INAUDIBLE)
MATTHEWS: Well, let`s go to Joan`s line of country (ph). I`m talking
gender-wise here. These numbers are stirring! Look at this. Among the
voters down there, Republicans have once again fielded a candidate who
women generally flee from in droves -- if women flee in droves.
WALSH: We do.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, Ken Cuccinelli with his strict opposition to
abortion rights even in the case of rape and incest, which for a lot of
people is certainly an exception, is losing to Terry McAuliffe among women
-- I`ve never seen a number like this. This is like the New York mayor`s
race -- 24-point difference. Among -- basically, even among men tied,
McAuliffe and Cuccinelli.
MATTHEWS: So the issues that grabbed most of our attention in the
media and women in the media and women outside the media most didn`t seem
to move the men. Maybe they`re still gun-oriented or something, but
they`re with Cuccinelli. But a 24-point spread for McAuliffe among women.
What do you make of that?
WALSH: Well, I think...
WALSH: You know, I would give Terry McAuliffe some credit there, too,
because he has campaigned well on these issues. He has not been afraid to
run on the social issues in Virginia.
MATTHEWS: No, he isn`t.
WALSH: He and his people saw that there was this gender gap and it
could be widened. And so he`s -- he`s hit him -- you know, Cuccinelli also
supports a personhood bill, which makes certain kinds of contraception
possibly illegal. He has gone to court to reinstate the state`s anti-
sodomy law, and Terry McAuliffe hasn`t run away from his own support for
WALSH: So he`s run a campaign that is innovative for Virginia, seeing
that these social issues were going to move the needle. And they`ve moved
the needle quite a lot.
ROBINSON: And I think Joan...
MATTHEWS: Are you sure about that, Joan? You know more -- is that --
you talking about the IUD? What method of -- what method of birth control,
as we commonly use the term, would be affected by this personhood thing?
WALSH: It could be the IUD. It`s anything that stops implantation.
WALSH: It depends on the wording of the law.
WALSH: So some supporters of it wiggle out by saying, Well, we didn`t
-- we never got far enough, necessarily, to get the law passed. We might
have negotiated that out. But as written, most personhood laws even put at
risk some forms of oral contraception.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, while Republicans find new ways to block the
president from governing, Wall Street has reached its highest level ever
today. The Dow Jones gained 111 points and closed at a new high in
history. In history! The S&P closed at a record high, as well.
I will now say what I was planning to say, but I will clean it up
MATTHEWS: He kills our enemies...
MATTHEWS: ... and he makes us rich. So why are you bitching? What
is the problem with the right? Why don`t they ever -- even in their own
self-negative nationalistic interests and money interests, can`t they at
least say, You know (INAUDIBLE) I`ll say this about this customer, at least
he makes us rich and he kills our enemies!
MATTHEWS: If W did that, they`d be making him the next saint!
ROBINSON: Well, that`s generally been the pattern with Democratic
ROBINSON: (INAUDIBLE) they`re hated, you know? They -- you know...
MATTHEWS: Last question to you, Joan. Can`t he make them happy even
by making them rich and killing our enemies? What does he have to do, this
WALSH: Apparently not. Apparently not. They are so bought into
thinking that he is, you know, a demon and thinking that their voters want
to hear that. Some of them do. Some of them don`t. Some voters -- many
voters, most voters -- most voters recognize that this man has done what he
can do for the economy and that he`s been -- he`s been...
WALSH: ... dealt a tough hand.
MATTHEWS: ... let me try it another way, Joan. He left us with the
clown car. He left us with the worst financial disaster since the Great
Depression. He left us sitting on his lap when he arrived -- they did.
MATTHEWS: They left them with our enemy alive after Tora Bora and a
war that never got to the enemy we went there to get. They failed on both
counts. And then this guy comes in and succeeds glowingly on both counts,
taking down al Qaeda from the top, on television, OK, and he takes -- he
doubles the Dow back from the doldrums it was in under W, their hero,
MATTHEWS: And yet -- and yet not a whimper of, Well, I`ll give him
that. Or, Oh, yes, I don`t really like him, but yes, I`ll give him that.
Just a little bit of grudging, grumbling -- just a little grumble of, yes,
I like that. Nothing.
WALSH: No. No. A lot of them hate him, and they see political gain
in trashing him. And they can`t give him any credit whatsoever. And you
know, yes, some of it does have to do with his race. It`s sad to say, but
that`s the truth.
MATTHEWS: Well, I didn`t say that, but I think something has to do
WALSH: I did.
ROBINSON: I said it.
MATTHEWS: There`s some basic human rejection and...
WALSH: Gene and I said it.
MATTHEWS: Yes. I`m accused of saying it. I want to say when I`m
exactly sure. But I`ll tell you, sometimes you got to wonder why -- what
don`t they really, really like -- dislike about him?
Anyway, thank you, Gene Robinson, for the chuckle and as always and
the thoughts, of course, and Joan Walsh for the point of view and the
thoughts. Very connected, actually.
By the way, election day is this coming Tuesday. Polls in Virginia
are going to close at 7:00 o`clock Eastern. And HARDBALL -- luckily, we
get to do it! We`ll be the first with the results coming out of Virginia.
We`re going to have even better than that nationally (ph), the exit polling
announcement, which is going to tell you how the canary did before he died
in terms of the right wing. That`s next Tuesday at 7:00 Eastern, a week
By the way, coming up: It`s one thing for liberals to take shots at
the right, but now "The National Review" is. That`s the paper of record.
It`s referring to what the right wing is doing as "apocalyptic"
conservativism. I don`t think they meant it as a compliment.
Also, Republicans are crying crocodile tears over the problems with
the rollout of President Obama`s health care plan. They`re pretending all
they want to do is fix it. Do you believe that? They just want to fix it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`ve gone through 44 votes, 48 votes now, of you
trying to dismantle the legislation. You call that cooperation? I don`t!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: I like that guy out of his chair. He`s going to be on in a
Plus, it`s been a year since Hurricane Sandy hit the Northeast and aid
still isn`t getting to many of those who desperately need it.
And "Let Me Finish" tonight with the voters` simple desire for
politicians to work together. Got it? Like Governor Christie and Barack
Anyway, this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Well, if Republicans don`t win control of the Senate next
year, they may be left out of power for a while. Consider this. In 2014,
senators up for reelection include many Democrats who came to power when
Barack Obama was elected president back in 2008. Democrats are defending
21 seats, versus 14 seats for Republicans.
But in 2016, it`s Republican senators who will be playing defense.
They`ll be defending the six-seat net gain they won in 2010, a total of 24
Republican seats and seven from states Obama won. Look at all the red on
that map. Tack on the fact that it`s a presidential election year and
turnout will likely be much higher, as it often is, and that may be tough
sledding for the GOP.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Well, the Republican Party`s
internal war continues to rage. The newest salvo, editors at the
conservative "National Review" called out bomb throwers on the right like
Ted Cruz. They called them "apocalyptic" conservatives. The magazine put
it bluntly, that their strategy of shutting down the government achieved
little beyond lower poll numbers and more poisonous divisions in the party.
Quote, "Conservative groups that have internalized the apocalyptic
view of politics believe the most effective model for gaining ground is
simply pressuring Republicans to be more confrontational. The first step
of the defunding strategy was not to persuade most Republicans that it was
a good idea, it was to force them to go along with it whether or not they
agreed. It turned out that the power to move the House Republican caucus
is not the power to move the world."
The editors endorsed political engagement, persuasion winning
elections, and passing legislation the normal way. In other words, the
exact opposite of what Ted Cruz is pitching.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: What do all the Washington strategists say
in 2014? Let`s go back to the model of `06, `08 and `12. You guys pushing
for a stand on "Obama care," that`s risky. No, no, no, no, no, no. Just
keep your head down and we`ll win races.
That`s not how you win races! That`s based on the oh, so clever idea
that if your opponent is here on the spectrum, that you want to be
infinitesimally to their right so that you can capture every marginal voter
right up to where they are.
The problem is, if you do that, you destroy every single reason anyone
has to show up and vote.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: So which vision will win out in the Republican Party? Ed
Rendell`s the former governor of Pennsylvania and an NBC political analyst
and Michael Steele is the former chairman of the RNC and an MSNBC analyst.
Governor Rendell, sometimes when I watch that guy and I turn off the
sound, if that`s possible, I see a guy who`s almost like a Sunday morning
televangelist, with the hand movements, the temple thing with the hands
like this, all these gestures of the -- the shaking of the hands, all this
very religious sort of intonation and gesturing. And I wonder, is he
apocalyptic? Can this be something that`s years from now we`re going to
decide, or is this something right now something really apocalyptic? We`re
either (INAUDIBLE) we`re either going to go the right way, which is godly,
or we`re going the wrong way, which is ungodly.
I mean, is this about budget deficits? Is this about something you
put your fingers on like mathematics? Or is it something else he`s talking
about here? I think he`s talking apocalyptics. I see it. Your thoughts.
ED RENDELL (D-PA), FMR. GOV., MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I do, too.
And you know, it`s working for him. People say, Well, this strategy was a
failure. Well, sure, it was a failure. It was a failure for Republicans
nationally. It was a failure for Republicans in the Congress.
But was it a failure for Ted Cruz? He`s gotten infinitely bigger
fund-raising lists as a result of what he did. He`s got converts who are
going to go to the wall for him in Iowa and states like that. So was it a
failure from his perspective? Maybe not. Maybe it was...
MATTHEWS: So it`s all about...
MATTHEWS: Governor, is it all about getting the right-wing rail, get
that rail position hardest right you can get, and make sure...
MATTHEWS: ... Rand Paul or nobody else gets there. As long as you
hold to that position, hardest right candidate, you`re going to get a huge
chunk of votes. Is that the thinking?
RENDELL: Absolutely. I think Ted Cruz is motivated totally selfishly
in this. He`s not thinking of the country. He`s not thinking of the
party. He`s thinking of himself.
But it may be a strategy that works with Republican primary voters.
Remember, primary voters are a small slice of the overall Republican
electorate. It may not work with the electorate at large, but it could
work with the primary voters.
MATTHEWS: Well, I want you to respond to that because there was a
case in the Democratic Party that (INAUDIBLE) called George McGovern.
MICHAEL STEELE, FMR. RNC CHAIR, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Right.
MATTHEWS: He just made sure that nobody got to his left.
MATTHEWS: And you could say the same thing perhaps about Goldwater
and about Reagan. Nobody get to my left or right, I win.
STEELE: I win. And that`s Cruz`s stance here, no one getting to his
right as he sets up the Republican primary march, which -- you know, he`s
spent what, four times now in Iowa? What I...
MATTHEWS: The right-wing guy wins.
STEELE: Right. And the right-wing guy wins. But what I took note
MATTHEWS: By the way, he`s going to South Carolina.
STEELE: Exactly. Well, there you are. And I think it`s important to
note that he mentioned, you know, going back to the -- you know, 2006, 2008
and 2012. Ah! He skipped 2010 and 2009. And it`s something about what we
did when I was at the RNC in that period...
MATTHEWS: When you won.
STEELE: ... when we won. I didn`t have to go hard extreme. I had to
be common sense. I had to bring people to the party, because, remember, we
were a party out of power, in disfavor with the American people. We had to
MATTHEWS: Oh, I get it! You would be today a guy who didn`t shut
down the government, who didn`t threaten default, but waited to see how
this Obama rollout occurred, and then run against that...
MATTHEWS: ... in common sense terms. You would have done that.
STEELE: Yes, that`s what I would have done.
MATTHEWS: They don`t do that now.
STEELE: They didn`t do that. So they got in front of their own
MATTHEWS: Did you like the way I advanced you? I like to advance
STEELE: Well, I appreciate it.
MATTHEWS: OK, let me go to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is
being challenged on the right by a Tea Party candidate, of course, next
year. But in a new Web video, he goes the other way. McConnell`s campaign
pitched an image of a leader in Washington who can negotiate and get things
done. He`s going for the other position, not exactly a message that will
endear him to Tea Party types.
This is fascinating. He is accepting the role of leadership, playing
his strengths, not trying to me-too this rabble-rouser out there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Minority Leader Mitch McConnell helped pave the
way for this.
SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R), UTAH: McConnell is a -- is a terrific leader.
There`s nobody who`s been any better than McConnell. He`s good, he`s
tough, he`s smart. He knows what he`s doing.
JOHN KING, CNN: Mitch McConnell who, in the end, is the person --
person who probably more than anyone else got this deal to the finish line.
LOU DOBBS, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: Mitch McConnell.
Senator McConnell, the minority leader, was the adult here. What
would have happened here if he hadn`t been there?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: You know, it`s amazing, Governor, how the Republican
Party`s swing to the right is so stark that Lou Dobbs is now on the more
liberal side of this swing.
MATTHEWS: There`s Lou Dobbs, who you cite now as your establishment
MATTHEWS: Your thoughts here. I thought that was a good ad because
it played to his strengths. Your thoughts.
ED RENDELL, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Absolutely.
It`s a very good ad, because no way Mitch McConnell can run away from
the fact that he`s been in Washington for years. So, accept that. Don`t
try to compromise that. Go with it and go with your strength. You`re a
strong leader and you deliver for Kentucky.
You remember, Chris, in `94, which was a Republican wave year, Ted
Kennedy survived. And he was losing to Mitt Romney all the way through and
he survived by -- in the end, he said, look, I bring things to
Massachusetts that nobody else can do.
RENDELL: And people said, you know, he`s right. Why would we want to
And, in Kentucky, the message is going to be twofold. One, Mitch
McConnell is a good national leader, but, two, he delivers for Kentucky.
MATTHEWS: Let`s look at an example of that. Here`s Ohio Governor
John Kasich, actually a guy I like, had some strong words for his fellow
Republicans on the subject of a strong social safety yet. Can you believe
He told "The New York Times": "I`m concerned about the fact that there
seems to be a war on the poor, that if you`re poor, somehow you`re
shiftless and lazy." Well, "The Times" pointed out that Governor Kasich
has expanded Medicaid in his state, given additional resources to programs
for the mentally ill, and even backed Cleveland`s mayor, who raised local
taxes to improve schools.
MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I think the governor is dead
on. And I`m very happy and rather proud to hear him put that out on the
I think the party should talk more about the poor in the context of
our policies and the things that we believe will help lift the poor. You
know, I ask the questions when I give speeches, Chris, how many of you got
up this morning and said, all I want to be today is poor? And no one
raises their hand.
So, why do we think that the poor gets up thinking that same thing?
They want to aspire to wealth and opportunity as everyone else. I think
our party is uniquely poised to do that. And I think the leadership of
guys like Kasich and others will help frame that argument going into the
future, if given the opportunity, and they have that Sister Souljah moment
when they say to the rank and file, this is the way forward, not over there
in the woods and in the trees, but this way, talking about poor and
opportunity and all that.
MATTHEWS: Well, it looks to me like the crazy right is now fighting
the reasonable right, and as well as the left.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you Michael Steele. Thank you, Governor Ed
Rendell, for joining us.
Up next, the hit TV show "Homeland" now for the preschool set. This
is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN")
DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, "LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN": Obama is in
so much trouble, he called Hillary Clinton and he said, could you start
LETTERMAN: You know, the president, every week, he has a weekly -- I
think it`s usually a radio or TV address to the American people. Here`s
what it was this weekend.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It`s called the
marketplace. And for Americans without health insurance and Americans who
buy insurance on their own because they can`t get it at work, it`s a very
OBAMA: If you`re one of those people, the Affordable Care Act makes
you part of a...
LETTERMAN: The guy can`t even get on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Time for the "Sideshow."
That was David Letterman, of course, making a not-so-subtle point that
the president faces a tough road as he forges ahead with healthcare.gov.
Of course, Rome wasn`t built in a day either. But, for now, comedians
continue to have a field day. Here`s how Jon Stewart opened "The Daily
Show" last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART")
JON STEWART, HOST, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART": The top story,
of course, the White House`s ongoing struggle to fix their beleaguered
health care Web site. Tonight, I am happy to report progress.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The latest change is strictly cosmetic. That
smiling woman on the home page is gone.
STEWART: They got rid of that smiling lady.
STEWART: Although I`m not sure the new home page is an improvement.
I think that`s...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Anyway, in fairness, Stewart also highlighted the efforts
of many Democrats to fix the early problems with the ACA Web site.
And, as you will see, he got a little carried away with the talking
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL TONKO (D), NEW YORK: We have to fix it, not nix it.
REP. JOHN SARBANES (D), MARYLAND: Fix it, don`t nix it.
STEWART: Fix it. Do not nix it. Correct it.
STEWART: Do not reject it.
STEWART: Improve it. Don`t remove it.
STEWART: Repair it, not forswear it.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
STEWART: We have got to squeeze her. Don`t tease her. Never leave
her. From the Web site. Try a little tenderness. Oh, yes. You have got
to (INAUDIBLE) man. All you go to do it -- no, no, no. You got to try.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Finally, "Sesame Street"`s capitalizing on the success of
Showtime`s hit series "Homeland" with their own spinoff for children called
And anyone familiar with the show`s characteristically eerie title
sequence will appreciate this puppeteered parody.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "SESAME STREET")
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: I don`t want to miss anything.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Everyone misses something.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Not me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Up next: Republicans who repeatedly have tried to destroy
the Affordable Care Act now claim to be the ones grieving most about its
And, later, it`s been one year now since Hurricane Sandy, and federal
aid is only trickling out to the victims in New York and New Jersey who
need it badly.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Milissa Rehberger.
Former -- President Obama praised former House Speaker Tom Foley at a
congressional memorial service today, saying Foley brought civility to
Congress and was a skilled consensus-builder. Foley died earlier this
month at 84.
Survivors of superstorm Sandy are lining up the shores of New York and
New Jersey tonight to commemorate the storm`s one-year anniversary.
And a Brazilian surfer took on a mammoth wave in Portugal triggered by
a storm all in an effort to set a new record. That wave is believed to be
over 100 feet -- back to HARDBALL.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. DAVE CAMP (R), MICHIGAN: Officials at the Center for Medicare
and Medicaid Services, who are charged with implementing the exchanges,
added -- and I quote -- "Due to a compressed time frame, the system wasn`t
And, frankly, three years should have been enough. And had the
administration provided more forthcoming answers and shared in a
transparent manner the reality of the challenges it was encountering in the
implementation process, I suspect many of these glitches could have been
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
The GOP blame game is certainly working there at that table. That was
U.S. Congressman Dave Camp, Republican from Michigan, speaking at yet
another GOP hearing on the Affordable Care Act.
As you saw in that clip, the same Republicans who have made it their
mission to sabotage the president`s health care law are now outraged at a
rocky rollout they hoped for and hoped cause -- helped cause, actually.
Anyway, the GOP`s ongoing to undercut, defund and destroy the law drew
heavy fire at the hearing. And things took a turn for the dramatic when
Democrat Bill Pascrell from New Jersey rose to defend the law from an
onslaught of Republican attacks. This is Pascrell addressing the hypocrisy
of the GOP`s sabotage assault by reminding Republicans that when President
George W. Bush expanded Medicaid, Democrats opposed it, but then worked to
make it better, to improve it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. BILL PASCRELL JR. (D), NEW JERSEY: We lost the policy fight, and
what did we do? We went back to our districts and we told our seniors,
although we voted no, we`re -- we personally believe and will work with the
Bush administration to make it work. That`s what we did.
And how many of you stood up to do that? None. Zero. Zero.
REP. TIM GRIFFIN (R), ARKANSAS: There are numerous proposals,
including the one that I`m a co-sponsor of.
PASCRELL: I yield back. I -- let me take back the time, sir.
PASCRELL: Let me take the time back.
Are you serious, what you just said? Are you really serious?
We have gone through 44 votes -- 48 votes now -- of you trying to
dismantle this legislation. You call that cooperation? I don`t.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, Congressman Bill Pascrell joins us right now, along
with Sam Stein of The Huffington Post.
Congressman, you`re the kind of guy I grew up with. You`re like --
you`re although -- like maybe slightly older than me, maybe slightly
younger, but you`re just like my father`s friends in the Knights of
Columbus. You speak regular English. You talk the talk. This clown show
on the Republican side, 40 times, they voted against the bill the president
had, and there`s not a single Republican for 150,000 years that`s had a
health care plan.
They don`t have one. There`s 40 million people sitting right now in
the E.R. They don`t care about those people. Then the guy comes out, this
Griffin character from Arkansas. You know where he stands. For nothing.
I`m so glad you called him out. I`m sure he came up to you afterwards and
said, how can you be so direct with me?
MATTHEWS: Anyway, tell me what the reaction was to being direct for
once with these people.
PASCRELL: Well, some folks -- some folks were surprised, Chris, that
I yielded my time. We only had three minutes. But you know what? I like
that. I knew where he was going. He had his sheet of paper in his hands.
Where the hell was this three year ago, two years ago, one year ago?
He just signed onto that bill, by the way, three days ago.
MATTHEWS: Oh, great.
PASCRELL: This is hypocrisy. This is hypocrisy at its worst. And I
wish I had more than three minutes, but I`m going to defend what I think
should be defended.
You know, Chris, we talked way back when, three years ago, and I said
to you there were some things in this I didn`t like and some things that
should have been in that weren`t in there.
PASCRELL: But the thing is done. We voted for it. The Supreme Court
supported it. And here we are. It`s all over again. It`s like
repetition, repetition. I say, help us make it better.
MATTHEWS: You know, they remind me, Sam, of like Ben Brantley, the
theater critic at "The New York Times." He doesn`t have a play to put on.
He doesn`t put anything out there for the public to look at. He just sits
around and comes in on Monday morning and trashes something.
What do the -- how come the Republicans get away with not being for
anything at all for the working uninsured? And then they come off and they
dance around, prance around suggesting little nuances of concern they have
had. What a joke. Your thoughts.
SAM STEIN, THE HUFFINGTON POST: Well, let`s stipulate for the time
being that the rollout of the Web site has been pretty bad.
But if you ask a Republican if they want it to be resolved quicker,
they would say of course no. They`re cheering on its failure.
STEIN: Same with the exchanges. The Republican governors didn`t
expand -- many of them did not expand -- take on the responsibility of
building a state-run exchange, putting the burden on the federal
That doesn`t excuse the federal government for botching the rollout.
They should have done this. Dave Camp`s right. They had three years to do
this. But certainly there`s an element of hypocrisy here from the
Republicans who actively worked to undermine this thing and now are
cheering the fact that it`s failing. I think the congressman has a valid
MATTHEWS: Well, let me go back to the congressman.
What you think the people in that committee, on the other side of your
committee, would like to see as the denouement, the end of this talk? Do
they want a better bill? Do they want to revise, refirm it, revise -- what
do they want to do? Reform it?
PASCRELL: Chris, maybe I`m being naive about this, but I think
there`s still a good 25 percent to 40 percent on the Ways and Means
Committee that want to see some kind of a breakthrough, where they don`t
feel that they`re being tied down if they say something nice about the ACA.
And I -- I asked today in the very spot that you just showed, I said -
- I stood and I said, which one of you are going to tell the parents when
you condemn this thing and then destroy it that your kids are no longer
going to be covered with special needs, your kids are no longer going to be
covered because they have a precondition? Are you going to tell the
parents? Do you have the courage and the guts to do that?
You going to tell the seniors that they`re no longer going to get a
shot with that famous hole in the doughnut, when you`re paying premiums,
but you`re not getting benefits? Are you going to tell seniors you`re
going back to the old way? None of you have the courage to do that. And,
until you do, things are not going to change around here. But what else do
you need to know that we`re not going away?
MATTHEWS: Let me go back to Sam on the analysis here.
It seems to me that the congressman made a pretty good point there,
that the Democrats didn`t dance all over the grave of the prescription drug
program. They nursed it along, even though it was W.`s plan.
STEIN: Right. Yes.
MATTHEWS: Is that a fair, positive statement by the congressman?
No, it`s absolutely true. If you look at history, that`s what
happened. And I think, at some point, some Republicans may recognize that
President Obama is going to be in office through the 2016 elections, into
2017, and that there`s just simply no way that he will sign legislation
that repeals his law or that cripples it until it`s inoperable.
So, there`s two to three -- 2.5 years more years here where they have
to recognize that they have an opportunity to work within the confines of
the law to make it better in their ideological vision. Or they can
continue to do what they`re doing.
And I should recommend to the congressman, Democrats should have
called this Heritage care. Not Obamacare. Maybe they would have been more
reasonable in working with you on that then.
PASCRELL: That`s very interesting and very important point.
MATTHEWS: Well, take a look at this, Congressman. Two weeks ago,
Speaker John Boehner brought the economy to the brink, of course, by taking
us to the edge of a default, of the Affordable Care Act itself. Yet today,
he told reporters that the GOP`s fight against the ACA, the American --
Affordable Care Act, is really about, get this, growing the economy.
That`s his concern.
Let`s take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Obamacare is like a
wet blanket over our economy. American people are looking for more jobs,
better wages. But with all the uncertainty around this law, employers are
having a very difficult time making decisions.
It`s time to delay this. It`s time to fix this before it gets any
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: You know, Congressman, hold your ears, but I said a comment
-- I used a comment I don`t usually use. What do these guys want Obama to
do? He`s talking about a wet blanket.
This president is out there killing our enemies the way W couldn`t
with his rooting-tooting, G.I. Joe talk. He let them go in Tora Bora.
This president caught him and killed him. He also doubled the stock market
to the point where today the Dow Jones for the people with some money in
their 401(k)s now are going to benefit from.
PASCRELL: Cut the deficit.
MATTHEWS: And cut the deficit.
PASCRELL: In half.
MATTHEWS: When are these guys going to stop complaining and the
grousing and say, you know what, I`ll give him that. I`ll give him that,
I`ll give him that, just once a year say -- what is it about your
colleagues on the right that don`t ever want to give an inch and say, you
know, he`s not a bad guy. He`s kind of a loner but he`s not a bad guy.
He`s a good husband. He`s a good father. Just once in awhile throw him a
They don`t do that. They hate him for some reason.
PASCRELL: This doesn`t help America.
MATTHEWS: What do you think of this?
PASCRELL: It doesn`t help America, Chris. It does not help America
whatsoever. From the guy who led the troops into shutting down the
government which cost us billions and billions of dollars in jobs, just the
little while ago, Chris, and he`s telling us about Obamacare? We`ve
extended Medicare because of the Affordable Care Act.
So just that in itself is something that we should all be proud of,
both sides, all sides in this issue.
STEIN: Let me jump in there --
MATTHEWS: Will Rogers is standing right behind you, Congressman. The
great American Will Rogers from Oklahoma. He would appreciate the
Republicans` complete hypocrisy here.
Last thought from you, Sam.
STEIN: Yes. No, I think -- you know, the president is partially
responsible for this because for this meme because he did delay the
business mandate in the Affordable Care Act, which was a recognition that
businesses were uncertain about this.
But if the problem here is uncertainty caused by Obamacare, then I
don`t think John Boehner has a leg to stand on because as the congressman
rightly said, it wasn`t that long ago we were at the brink of a debt
default and we were in the midst of a government shutdown because of
efforts to delay and defund Obamacare. So, uncertainty is, you know, not
something Republicans appear to worry about all that seriously.
MATTHEWS: There`s a difference between a guy who stops his car to fix
a tire and the guy that runs the car off the road.
Anyway, thank you, Bill Pascrell, the congressman of New Jersey.
PASCRELL: It`s always a pleasure. I`m honored to be here.
MATTHEWS: Honored to have you.
And, Sam Stein, thank you so much for being up as always with your
Up next, one year after Hurricane Sandy, aid isn`t reaching the people
that need it most yet. New York Congressman Peter King, an expert on this
subject, joins us.
And a reminder, HARDBALL`s new digital home is here. Check out our
page where you can read our latest articles, connect with the community and
watch live video and full episodes so you`d never missed a show. Just go
MATTHEWS: New York mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio is cruising
towards a victory of historic proportions. Let`s check the HARDBALL
According to a new "New York Times"/Siena College poll, de Blasio
leads Republican Joe Lhota by 45 points. It`s de Blasio 68, Lhota 23. The
biggest margin in non-incumbent running for New York mayor was 40 points
from Abe Beame won back in `73.
There`s another blog shaping up across at the Hudson River, where New
Jersey Governor Christie has a 33-point lead in new Quinnipiac poll.
We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: He called me last night around
midnight again to ask what else could be done, what we did last night. He
was able to -- to move forward very quickly with a major disaster
declaration for New Jersey. He worked on that last night with me, offered
any other assets that we need to help.
I have to say, the administration, the president himself, and FEMA
Administrator Craig Fugate have been outstanding with us so far. We have a
great partnership with them. And I want to thank the president personally
for his personal attention to this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, we`re back.
One year after Superstorm Sandy, thousands of families are still
displaced, of course. Still stuck in hotels or forced to stay with friends
and relatives, and many victims of the hurricane that slammed New Jersey
and New York, have had no choice but to leave for good because of the slow
pace of federal aid or because of skyrocketing insurance rates.
Congress -- the U.S. Congress authorized a total of $60 billion to
help the victims of Sandy. But, so far, only about $5 billion have been
spent to restore the damage. Another $5 billion have just been allocated.
Anyway, despite the storm`s devastation, the slow return to normalcy,
we`ve seen elected officials on both sides of the aisle do something we
don`t see much these days -- work together, to put their political self-
interest aside and trying to act in the interests of the community, instead
of responding to the politics of the moment.
Well, case in point, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who drew the
ire of fellow Republicans days before the election last year, for praising
President Obama`s response to the storm.
Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIE: I`m sure that while the national election is obviously very
important, that the people of New Jersey at this moment would really be
unhappy with me if they thought for a second I was occupying my time
thinking about how I was going to get people to vote a week from today.
So, I don`t give a damn about Election Day. It doesn`t matter a lick to me
at the moment. I`ve got much bigger fish to fry than that, so do the
people of the state of New Jersey.
So, let the politicians who are on the ballot worry about Election
Day, it`s not my problem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: He reminds of a guy named Peter King, a congressman from
Peter King, Congressman, thank you, because you`re known for your
independence and figuring things outs for Ireland or this country. You`ve
always seemed to do what you think is right. You and I have occasionally
disagreed over issues like Gerry Adams.
But let`s talk about what we agree on. I have to admit guilt -- I was
never aware until I went up there under during duress, went up there and
learned about what was going on in Breezy Point. I actually saw a lot of
what was happening and the horror of what happened to Staten Island, out
there, where regular working class people have lived. They`re not resort
areas. They happen to be beach but there where people live and build their
houses and homes and families, getting hit after getting hit by other
factors in their life. They didn`t have made to start with in these areas.
Talk about those people that got hit hard in the New York area.
REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: Yes, sure. You mentioned Staten
Island. You mentioned Breezy Point. They were devastated. In my
district, Long Beach, Lindenhurst, Massapequa, Amityville, Seaford, they
were absolutely devastated. I mean, we`re talking about thousands of
people were affected.
We had whole areas under water, houses actually blew up. Many were on
fire and the flooding was so bad that the fire department couldn`t get to
them. It was actually horrible.
I mean, to see -- it looked in some ways like a third world country.
And you`re right, these were not -- you know, we`re not talking about
mansions, we`re talking about schools of resource (ph), we`re talking about
solid communities of solid, hardworking people. And they were devastated.
You go to someone`s house and the street and the lawn were strewn with
all the family mementos, photos, paintings, books toys -- it was a
terrible, terrible situation, yet the people never gave up, they fought
hard and they`re still fighting hard today. But it was really to be in it
-- I never thought coming from the Northeast that I`d be in the middle of a
storm like that.
KING: It`s just not something we identify with.
MATTHEWS: You know, the pictures we`re showing now, never got the
media attention. Or maybe I should be blaming myself for not being part of
doing that right. But nothing like Katrina got. We talked about Katrina
for months around in the media. And New York, the center of the world
media, and yet, it never got the attention. It`s so weird.
Let me ask -- one thing a lot of people don`t understand if they
haven`t been there, imagine you have a house and the house is condemned.
It`s sitting up on blocks or something or it`s been -- it moves and you
have no electrical system, the whole area doesn`t have an electrical
system, the huge capital costs that are involved here, is not just
repainting or fixing some shutters. I mean, look at this stuff here.
What`s the condition right now of the politics and what`s the
condition of the rebuilding?
KING: Well, as far as the politics, again, those of us in New York
and New Jersey, you know, we`re working together. We have no time for the
other stuff. There`s no government shutdowns going on in New York and New
Jersey right now, unlike Washington. No.
But as far as the rebuilding that`s coming in, Chris, in Congress, it
took so long, it took over 90 days before the aid was approved. It took 10
days for Katrina. So, 10 days versus 90 days, then you have another 60
days for the federal government to come up with a proposal. They have to
And then because the damage was so extensive, it`s required actually a
lot of engineering work that involves consultation of local mayors and
county executives. So I give the administration credit, Tom Donovan at
HUD, he`s doing a good job. The money was coming in. But a lot of that
it`s just because it was so enormous, that again, a lot of it`s going to be
rebuilding, it`s going to be for instance rebuilding sewage plants,
rebuilding road ways, train yards, rail road lines, and to do that, we
don`t want to spend the money and go through this in another four or five
So, the money has been spent very smartly and slowly. As a result of
that, though, it is having a hard time getting out. But right now, it`s
moving a lot more quickly.
But I would just say this to some of these people, like Tom Coburn,
who say the money`s not being spent fast enough. They`d be the first to be
yelling if the money was being spent too fast. They would say, you guys
are just wasting money.
Instead we`re being very prudent and working with the federal
government, state government, country government, city government.
Everyone is working together.
And yes, this is slower than we like. On the other than, money`s not
being wasted. These are all good projects, these are all good attempts to
get the money into people and the homes. And, again, you have insurance
companies at times a getting in the way. Sometimes you have problems with
FEMA, even though overall has done a great job.
But again, you get something so large. Now, 16 percent of New York
City is under water. Just to give you an example, in a major urban area to
have so much under water, subway system, roads, bridges, tunnels, it`s just
MATTHEWS: Yes, I think government in this case is the solution. It`s
not the problem.
Thanks so much, U.S. Congressman Peter King of New York.
KING: Thank you, Chris.
MATTHEWS: And we`ll be right back after this.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish up with Hurricane Sandy.
What it told us is that particularly in times of stress, Americans
stick together and want to see our leaders doing the same. The most
memorable and the most positive reminder of 2012 was a picture of the
president of the United States, a Democrat, and the governor of New Jersey,
a Republican, walking together on the Atlantic Shore, working together,
they get the cleanup job going.
The American people don`t ask much of their political leaders. They
don`t ask them to be geniuses or fortune tellers or always cheerful or
always remembering your name is next time you see them. What they ask is
that they do their jobs manning the fort when it`s under attack. When it`s
a five alarm fire, we want them standing at curb across the street, giving
us an update. We want them to care, to be seen caring. That means working
together when the time comes.
My new book is the backroom story of my coming of age politically, and
the very best of the stories is about my personal inside role as top aid to
Speaker Tip O`Neill in his six-year relationship with President Ronald
I`ll be with my brother tomorrow night in North Hills, Pennsylvania,
to talk about my book, "Tip and The Gipper: When Politics Worked," which
many people have come to us and said they love.
And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
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'Hardball with Chris Matthews' for Tuesday, October 29th, 2013